Hypothermia in the Dog

In cold temperatures, dogs can catch cold too. Read here what you can do to prevent this and how you can recognize a cold in your dog in good time.

When the temperature is below zero, most dogs are well protected by their fur. However, this does not apply to all dogs: depending on the breed, age and state of health, a dog is more susceptible to colds. If healthy dogs fall into icy water, they too can cool down quickly.

Which dogs are affected?

Especially puppies, old or sick dogs can catch cold quickly. Hairless dogs or dog breeds with little undercoat and short fur, such as the Dalmatian, are also at risk. This also applies to particularly small dogs such as the Chihuahua – due to their small body size, cold and wet conditions make things difficult for these dogs more quickly.

Important: Dogs that freeze quickly should wear a suitable dog coat. Note that the dog clothing also meets certain requirements.

Symptoms of a cold

Hypothermic dogs will shiver, breathe shallowly, and have a slow, weak pulse (feel on the inner thigh). Consciousness may already be clouded.

You can use a canine thermometer that has been smeared with petroleum jelly to take the dog’s temperature. Hypothermia can be most reliably detected with a rectal measurement. The normal body temperature of a dog is between 37.5 °C and 39 °C.

Dogs with a cold have discolored nasal secretions, often have a dry or warm nose and cough.

How to act properly when you have a cold

In the case of severe hypothermia, warm baths (but not over 40 °C) gently bring the body back to normal temperature, then the dog must be dried thoroughly and possibly irradiated with a heat lamp. If the body temperature is below 36 °C, the veterinarian should intervene, who can also administer warm IV fluids.

The same applies to frostbite. Puppies that are raised without a mother definitely need a heat lamp, but it must not be too close because of the risk of burns.

Preventing dog colds

So that the dog does not catch a cold, you should not stay outside for too long in ice and snow. Avoid brittle areas of ice and the edges of water – if the dog falls into ice-cold water, it can cool down quickly and catch a cold.

Your dog should also not eat snow, or at least not too much. The cold irritates the throat and can also result in a cold. Dogs that freeze easily should wear a special dog coat when it’s cold and wet. With these tips you can protect your dog from hypothermia and thus from a cold.

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